Target: Sergio Costa, Minister of the Environment, Land and Sea Protection, Italy
Goal: Protect Italy’s marine animals from black market poachers.
Seahorses, sea cucumbers, turtles, rare fish, and molluscs are under threat from a poaching trade that starts in the Mediterranean and ends on the Chinese black market. Mar Piccolo, an estuarian basic located near the southern Italian city of Taranto, is home to such incredible biodiversity that it’s regarded as a living eco-museum by scientists. Now, this environmental marvel is at risk due to human greed.
For years, Mar Piccolo was prized by researchers for its huge population of seahorses, one of the largest such populations in Europe. But between 2016 and 2017, that population collapsed, with the end nowhere in sight. Demand for seahorses and sea cucumbers, in particular, has skyrocketed in China, where eager customers use the animals as food and in traditional Chinese medicine. This demand has placed a unique natural biome in grave danger, with local fishermen and poachers going so far as to use explosives and aggressive netting practices to capture the now lucrative animals.
While the Italian Coast Guard has had some success in enforcing the ban on sea cucumber trading, the illegal trade in marine life has carried on unabated. Chinese merchants have sold them through popular social media site WeChat and Amazon, but neither of these companies have taken significant steps to halt the black market trade that’s threatening marine life.
It falls to the Italian government to enforce maritime law and protect the wildlife of their coasts from those who would destroy it all for profit. Sign this petition to demand that greater steps be taken to ensure Italian ocean life survive and thrive for generations to come.
Dear Mr. Costa,
The presence of poachers on Italy’s coast has become apparent in recent years with a worrying drop in seahorse and sea cucumber populations in places like Mar Piccolo. These poachers use any means necessary to ransack Italy’s natural diversity to then sell off thousands of animals to predatory black marketeers. These animals are among the most unique and precious in the world, and once they’re gone, there will be no replacing them.
We urge you to carry out your duty to protect Italian wildlife and pursue these criminals with the full force of the law. By working with your colleagues in the Council of Ministers and the Coast Guard and Navy, you can act now to ensure this wildlife is preserved and treasured for years to come.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Palma Aquarium